Corvidae by Sarah Cannavo

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

She watches the ravens every day as
she leaves to walk to work (there’s so many—
she never paid them much mind before he came
along), seeking one among the others, sleek

winged thing black as a moonless night, as
the gulf left in space when a dying star
finally collapses in on itself. She likes to think
she can tell hers apart from the others—

that one, cocking its head so like he does
when she’s said something to amuse him,
obsidian beak unable to replicate the dark arc
of his smile, or maybe that one, carrying

itself with the same grace he displays standing
or dancing or bearing her to bed—that her eyes
are clever enough to pick a trait that unravels
the trick, but she knows she probably can’t.

Some days he perches on the telephone pole
across the street from her house and watches
her leave—slim thing, curls pale as young

wheat, eyes green as sea-glass; some
days he settles on a rooftop and gazes down
on her progress through the city’s cracked

streets while a faintly smoke-scented breeze
ruffles his feathers. But no matter where he
sits he sees her, and he smiles because her

need is written so nakedly in every aspect
of her, her eyes so clearly seeking something
as she scurries through the concrete warren

she’s made her home—seeking him. Her
ache reaches him above the static chatter
of every other mortal’s longings, stirs urges

that keep him in this realm long after he
would usually have flown far beyond it—a
beautiful hunger, a raven’s love.

Later. The tap at the window she leaps up
to answer, feet flying across the floor fast as

wings eat up the sky; the scrap of shadow
that flutters in and resolves into her lover,

hair like ink splashed against his paper-pale
skin, lithe limbs carved from marble and eyes

of emerald; the smile at which she starts to
melt—and perhaps it’s this softening that

ensures they fit together so well when he takes
her in his arms, or perhaps it’s that their

forms, their souls, were sculpted by greater
and distant hands and subtly nudged, shifted,

positioned so they would wind up here,
together in every sense, within the improbable,

infinite mass of stardust and chaos that
the cosmos is—perhaps, but as his lips

brush her neck, as their fingers entwine on
her pillows, the cause has less meaning than

the effect, plan and purpose never pondered
as the moon makes her slow way through the sky.

Afterwards she beams with pride and says,
“I figured it out today. You were the one on

the street sign, weren’t you? Down on Seventh.”
He was the one perched on the napkin-littered

table outside the café she ducked into for a
coffee on her lunch break. But lying with

her in his arms he smiles back at her and
says, “Yes, sweetling, that was me. You did it,”

kissing her and gently smoothing her hair back
from her face, her eyelids fluttering shut at

his touch. Some say he lies only for his
own pleasure, but he would say anything

to see her smile, and surely a little lie like
this is harmless enough, out of all he’s

ever told. “Now sleep, love,” he says in a
voice like silk, like honey, and she does, content.

She wakes in the morning with a black feather on her breast.

BIO: Sarah Cannavo is a writer haunting southern New Jersey. Her work has appeared in Star*Line, Liminality, The Cryptid Chronicles, Pulp Modern, Dates From Hell, and DBND Publishing’s Halloween Horror Volume 3, among others. Her poems “Fallen But Not Down” and “Learning The Way” were nominated for the 2020 and 2021 Rhysling Awards, respectively. Her story “Unreality” and novella Wolf of the Pines are available now on Amazon. She’s also rumored to post occasionally on her site The Moody Muse, at, and has been sighted on Twitter @moodilymusing.